From 30 August to 1 September the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) hosted colleagues from the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) and the University of Limpopo’s DIMAMO HDSS for a South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN) Nodal Best Practice Exchange workshop.

SAPRIN is a Department of Science and Technology funded and SA Medical Research Council hosted initiative to link, integrate and develop South Africa’s existing three health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) into a common population research platform.  

“This workshop enabled colleagues at the three sites to learn from each other in the process of implementing the common SAPRIN protocol and develop communities of practice. This was the third in a series of workshops, which will recur in future as we progress with the protocol implementation and enable new nodes joining SAPRIN to learn from our experience,” said SAPRIN Deputy Director and AHRI Chief Information Officer Dr Kobus Herbst.


AHRI Public Engagement team members Ncgengani Mthethwa and Makhosazane Ntombela with a community member.  

AHRI’s population research platform incorporates a rural area of about 845 km2 and a population of 150 000 in northern KwaZulu-Natal, making it a significant learning ground. During the three-day workshop delegates had the opportunity to learn about AHRI’s population programme operational systems; from field-based data collection, to data management to public engagement.

A Mfekayi community member answering a quiz question about one of AHRI’s studies. 

Workshop delegates also spent time at AHRI’s call-centre and visited a household in the area as well as a clinic to witness first-hand AHRI’s field team procedures, and the efforts made at clinic-level to improve completeness of health records.

Delegates spent the third day of the workshop attending a public engagement roadshow in Mfekayi.